Orchids are beautiful plants, but they can be challenging even for expert gardeners. These are not plants that thrive on neglect or that you can just leave in one place and hope for the best. Orchids have some pretty strict requirements to grow at their best.
One of the most important requirements is the amount of light they need indoors. There are two ways to give Orchids light: placing them near a window or using artificial light.
Orchids near a window need 6 to 8 hours of indirect, bright sunlight per day and Orchids near an artificial light need 12 to 16 hours of light per day.
Orchids are picky enough that people have turned to science to figure out which lights are best for them. Traditionally, red and blue lights were used to promote growth and flowering. However, they realized that the full spectrum contained blue and red and more closely mimicked natural sunlight.
Now, LEDs and natural window light are considered the best options.
How Many Hours of Artificial Light do Orchids Need?
When using artificial lights, Orchids do best with twelve to sixteen hours of light a day. The variability is due to several factors. Depending on the type of lights, strength, and color, the amount can change a little.
Start with around fourteen hours a day and adjust as necessary. If your Orchid still doesn’t want to bloom, try upping the time, but if your plant is starting to look burned or wilting, you may need to drop the time they are under the artificial lights.
In winter, it is usually best to decrease the artificial light they receive by about two hours. Start reducing the time gradually instead of all at once. The same is true when you start to increase the light amount in spring and summer.
What Color of Artificial Light Is Best for Orchids?
Orchids are difficult to grow. Because of this, people have turned to science to try and find the best way to make Orchids grow and bloom. They found that red and blue light is the best for Orchids. Red is best for flowering, while blue wave light is best for faster growth in the Orchid.
However, Orchids still need the other colors, as they would naturally get in the wild. For this reason, full-spectrum lights are a better option than just focusing on these two wavelengths.
Additionally, LEDs are becoming much cheaper and more readily available and are considered the better option. LEDs produce more light and a high range of light waves. But the best part is that they don’t produce much heat. That means that your plant isn’t overheating and suffering while you are trying to provide it with the light it needs.
What Is the Best Lighting for Orchids?
Indoor light doesn’t necessarily just mean artificial light. Plants can get natural light while remaining indoors via windows and light coming in through the curtains.
Natural lighting is always best for plants like Orchids if you can give them that. However, Orchids will suffer from direct light, which is far too strong and will cause them to wilt and burn.
For that reason, bright but indirect light is best. Preferably, you want your Orchid to be near a window facing south or east so that it can get the most light throughout the day and the softest light. Harsh, midday light is the worst for these plants, as that is when the sun is the strongest.
If you aren’t sure how you are doing with giving them the light they need, you can look at the leaves. Usually, if Orchids have bright green leaves, they are happy and get the proper amount of light.
Can Orchids Live in Low Light?
Most Orchids aren’t adapted to low light. They often will not bloom if they aren’t getting enough light, but otherwise will grow healthy. However, some Orchids adjust to low-light conditions and do better in shadier situations or low light than in bright, indirect sunlight.
The most common example of this is Paphiopedilum Orchid, which is also known as the Lady Slipper Orchid. Besides that, the other two common kinds are Phalaenopsis and Miltoniopsis. They are easy to find and well-known varieties of Orchids.
It is important to note that low light and no light are very different. Orchids cannot live or grow in no light. This doesn’t only include dark and enclosed rooms, but areas of the room where no light touches, such as tucked away in a dark corner of a bookshelf, in the corner where there is no light, or on the bottom shelf of a table.
Where to Place Orchids Indoors?
Preferably, your Orchids should be placed near a window to get natural light. Using a window with a sheer covering allows your Orchid to get natural light, with no need for extra attention to the timing of the light.
If you use artificial lights, they can be in any room that meets their other requirements for temperature, humidity, and airflow. You also want to ensure they are in a room where you can leave the light on for twelve to sixteen hours a day. So a bedroom may not be a great idea if you like to sleep in late. Additionally, if you are busy or forgetful, you can look at buying timers for your lights.
What Window Is Best for Orchids?
Orchids enjoy any room with a window. Preferably, they would like to be near a window that faces south or east. Since they don’t like direct sunlight, you want to put them near a window with a sheer curtain covering it or just out of the light of the window, so it doesn’t get burnt.
A west-facing window will work, but they don’t enjoy north-facing windows as they get the least amount of sun than any other direction.
Do Orchids Like Bathrooms?
Unless your bathroom has a lot of natural light, such as a skylight or a window, most Orchids will not do good in the bathroom. A bathroom usually has a good environment, as the air is often pretty humid.
However, the light conditions aren’t ideal for many Orchids. If you have a little bit of light in your bathroom but not enough for twelve to sixteen hours of indirect sun a day, then you can look at the varieties of Orchids that prefer low light.
Do Orchids Need Total Darkness at Night?
Although Orchids don’t grow well in darkness, that doesn’t mean they need light twenty-four hours a day. Just like people, plants need a day and night cycle. That means they prefer to have at least eight hours of full darkness at night to do their best. They can handle up to ten hours a night of darkness.
However, if they don’t get enough darkness, they won’t be able to grow and complete their respiration process as they should. For that reason, getting a timer for your plants can be a great idea if you are worried about forgetting or don’t want to handle it every day.
In winter, they can handle a couple of hours more darkness to coincide with the natural shortening of days in the fall and winter.
It doesn’t have to be one hundred percent dark, but you don’t want any overhead lights to be on throughout the night. You will want to make it as dark as you can at night for your plants.
Orchids are, unfortunately, very finicky plants. Even expert gardeners have a tough time with them. In some cases they may grow and continue to produce leaves and roots, but they do not flower. A lot of their flowering requirements revolve around light.
Orchids need to be placed near a window where they can get six to eight hours of indirect bright light, and, for artificial light, Orchids need anywhere between twelve and sixteen hours of light a day.
Orchids need quite a bit of light to grow their best and flower. The best spot to place your Orchid inside your home is near an east or south facing window to ensure bright, indirect sunlight.
The best artificial light to purchase for your Orchid is an LED light as it has the full spectrum of colors and doesn’t produce much heat. If you follow the above tips, you will have a thriving Orchid in your home!